SPRING/BREAK ART SHOW Will Be on View 3/6-9 at Old School on Mott Street in SoHo
Curated for the 3rd annual curator-driven art fair SPRING/BREAK Art Show in the schoolhouse known as Old School on Mott Street in SoHo, Tracy Causey-Jeffery of Causey Contemporary and Amy Kisch of AKArt Advisory present Liminal Reclamations-focusing on the 21st-century dilemma of the fabrication of human/nature. This year the fair's PublicPrivate theme will explore the "high visibility of the self in the 21st Century every-day" and the balance between privacy and the "digital strip-tease" that average people are compelled to engage in. Some of the artistic practices to be explored include self-portraiture, the evolution of the "photo bomb," "jealous landscape photography," and digital spectatorship. The show will be on view March 6 - 9, with a VIP Preview March 4, 6-9pm.
Liminal Reclamations features works by Michel Demanche, Kevin Bourgeois, Marielis Seyler, Melissa Murray, Jamie Knowles, Steven Dobbin, Mxolisi Dolla Sapeta, Paolo Buggiani, Robert Saywitz and Zane York, which navigate the internal and external realms of culture and the spectrum of opportunities presented to us to perform-or be prescribed-who we are. The artists delve into acts of voyeurism, constructions of memory and sensation, domestication, mass media consumption and destruction, self-reflection, reclamation, and suffocation.
Michel Demanche presents the digital apparatus as the new visual construct of Americana. Through the use of small devices, the viewer is lured into a personal space-though still occupying the public area in which the device remains fixed. Demanche measures the commitment and willingness of the viewer to sift through minutes of time-waiting for the one image that coalesces a feeling of connection past or anticipated future. Each sculptural vessel or system of delivery, is more than a façade-provoking an entrance into a world of memories, be it through the looking glass or the digital rabbit hole.
Kevin Bourgeois has been creating sociopolitical works on paper using primarily graphite for the last decade-utilizing a combination of photorealism, illustration, and pop symbolism that results in a fragmentation of surface and reality. Using a visual narrative of contemporary societal complexities, it relies on juxtapositions such as technology/human nature, individuality/consumer culture, and superficiality/altruism.
Marielis Seyler's photographs, through interactions in the public and private sphere, process and content-often placing large format Trample Pictures of fragile subjects in public spaces, on the forest floor in Open Air works, printing on fragile, sheer paper in her Transparency series, or selecting pop culture references as subjects-explore the duality of the boundaries between nature and mankind, and the public and private acts we conceal, unveil, or project. She invites viewers to decide what their role in the narrative will be, her photographs record our response to an invitation to degrade or protect-partaking in the sacred or profane. The artist's use of imagery reflects our interior and external life, weaving a story through symbolic imagery, creating a narrative that pokes, prods and laughs, albeit derisively, at our environmental and psychological plight.
Melissa Murray's works from her series 246a, entitled after a 300-year-old home on Cape Cod, present her impressions of space, architecture, and the effects of time. The location became a catalyst for metaphors relating to the idea of what a home is, happenings in the outside world and a deeper understanding of what it is for time to pass. While placing focus on the structure, she delves into the theme of internalizing a forgotten space and recreating it, transmuting it through a filter influenced by her life in New York City.
Drawing upon known cultural associations to consumer products, Jamie Knowles' links self-identity to a collective memory as a way to combine history, gender, and sexuality. In his artwork, he addresses the ease with which individuals pick and choose identity by examining how clothing, accessories, and fabrics approximate the externalized self-revealing the theatrical nature of self-expression. He examines how society has fetishized commodities, particularly fashion merchandise and accessories, through references to burlesque and to a lesser extent drag.
Steven Dobbin began examining the remaining detritus of paint cans and lids-the colors inside, and the contrasting rust or metal rims-while on a site painting project. He correlated these abandoned can fragments to special education students with whom he works-cast aside or often concealed-by society and family, with often unrealized potential residing inside them. Dobbin decided to use the abandoned paint cans and lids, and turn them into public "quilts," representing the colors of his students' interior lives and revealing beauty they so often hid away from the world.
Mxolisi Dolla Sapeta was born in South Africa, and his subject-matter revolves around African, and in particular, South Africa's ever agog socio-political issues-race and class relations, stagnancy and transformation. He explores surveillance and power relations between people who appear to have everything and those who merely exist on the fringes of society. He articulates subjects that relate to the models of class, conflict, and racial institutions, visually and conceptually. His box-shaped panels reflect the metaphorical meaning of the word "box"-stifling the models inside of the constructed space, pushing them off centre, in the periphery, uncomfortably off the focal point, or outside the border limits of the panel. He further suffocates them with a flat bright solid color field without a sense of depth so that they do not have a space to which to retreat-remaining subservient and stuck to the interior surrounding them.
Street Art legend and trailblazer Paolo Buggiani is known for his flaming sculptures as well as his illegal performances which have taken place worldwide-from New York to Bogota to London to Rome-in which he pulls stunts like roller-skating through New York City dressed as a metal-clad, fiery Minotaur or tightrope walking while blowing fire at the late-World Trade Centers. His utilization of fire points to his exploration of the struggle between the basic internal elemental qualities of mankind, against the monstrosities and surveillance of 'Big Brother:' "I consider fire the basic element of life. Without sun there would be no life on the planet. It depends on how man uses fire-it can give life or destruction."
Robert Saywitz's Suspended Beliefs as well as his installation The Donner Party deal with the layered and idiosyncratic nature of storytelling and memory-and their roles within family and history. His visual diaries investigate our ability to suspend the trauma of our waking lives or survive tragedy-seeking refuge in the altered state of sleep or in a collective identity. Words, ideas, quotes, and maps find their way into landscapes and portraits as waking life interacts with the unconscious-questioning the survival of the individual versus the group.
Zane York's intricate oil paintings strive to capture a fleeting moment in time and space, saving it from impermanence and incompleteness. He believes that painters make precarious visual external records in an attempt to organize and account for the internal experiences that they find so necessary to transcribe: objects, feelings, suspenses, interludes, and visions. The paintings stand as concrete reminders of what has been gained and what would otherwise become lost.
JORDAN EAGLES Blood Illuminations: In Jordan Eagles' Blood Illumination environments, overhead projectors are used to shine and enlarge patterns from translucent, preserved blood panels into spaces. This effect transforms the space, casting patterns on the walls, ceilings and floors-as well as viewers-wrapping the organic patterns, light and shadows with the architecture of the space. The blood light abstracts bodies and appears as new layers of skin and natural birthmarks. Eagles' techniques include heating, burning and mixing the blood with resin to generate the organic patterns and textures. In the presence of light, the works emit iridescent reds, crimsons, oranges, browns, and blacks that cast shadows and project an intense glow. The materials and luminosity in this new body of work relate to themes of corporeality, mortality, spirituality and science-regenerating the blood as sublime.
MARIELIS SEYLER Trample Pictures: Marielis Seyler's Trample Pictures are a visual recording of the way in which we ride roughshod over and trample nature and civilization-everything and everyone-leaving injuries and marks of ego in our wake. Placing large format-images with motifs of subjects considered fragile, tender or vulnerable-i.e., the slaughtered, the feeble-on the ground, the installation measures the public response to a challenge to trample, degrade, ignore, or protect the subjects. The artist withdraws to a position of pure observation while 'participants' are actively engaged, rather than merely witnessing the torture, subjugation or protection. The public is invited into a collaborative creation, crossing boundaries and leaving behind their individual marks in a performance-like situation. While being invited to step and walk on the images, viewers experience their own tendencies and impulses, which may often remain concealed. The images, and our negotiation with them, become a disturbing metaphor of our treatment of living things, the natural world, and each other.
SPRING/BREAK Art Show
233 Mott Street
New York, NY 10012
Image: Kevin Bourgeois, A Universe in My Throat, 2012, Mixed media, 7 x 10 feet / 238.76 x 304.8 centimeters